A year ago the Green Bay Packer defense was ranked last in the NFL. They vowed to improve, using the first 6 draft picks on defense players. The improvement has been substantial. Against the pass, they’re currently ranked 14th.
One major improvement from last season to this season is the play of nose guard B.J. Raji. In 2010, Raji had 29 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks, and had that famous interception in the NFC Championship game against Chicago which led to his nickname, “The Freezer.”
However, the following season, Raji’s production fell off, totaling 14 solo tackles, and three sacks. Fast-forward to 2012 and Raji is playing much more like the Raji of 2010. His numbers (11 solo tackles with 10 assisted tackles) aren’t what they were two years ago, but numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Raji has been a force in the middle, getting good push and taking up blockers that make life easier for his teammates on the outside.
While B.J. admits everything isn’t perfect, he feels like things are starting to peak at the right time.
He credits his big play-making ability as of late to playing outside of the normal defensive schemes. According to Raji, sometimes to make an impact, players must play outside of the traditional defensive schemes.
With the win last week in Chicago, the Packers are now locked into the playoffs and are fighting for the 2nd seed in the NFC. The pressure to make the playoffs is over, so it will allow the team to see where players’ heads are at, according to Raji.
The Packers look to keep the pressure on, if they can win in their last regular season appearance at Lambeau Field this Sunday against Tennessee.